‘Skint’ provides entertainment… but no answers

As if Scunthorpe doesn’t come in for enough stick, Channel 4 this week saw fit to pile more misery on the town with their documentary ‘Skint’.

It was billed by Channel 4 as: “Brand new four-part observational documentary series, Skint tells provocative and revealing stories from the inside out about how people survive without work.”

However, the farcical scenes broadcast on national television did little to actually address the main issue of why these people were suffering from financial hardship. Instead, we witnessed an hour of belittling and stereotyping that portrayed Scunthorpe in a frankly terrible light.

Dean and family, ball bag withheld. Photo: Channel 4

The disclaimer here is that the programme was filmed in the Westcliff estate of the town, commonly known as the least glamorous location in Scunny.

Even the narrator’s opening statement (‘Ahhh, Scunthorpe’) was as condescending as they come. He might as well have slipped in the ever-hilarious (not) ‘who put the c*** in Scunthorpe?’

Admittedly, the cretinous characters that formed the focal point of the documentary were as embarrassing as You can imagine. It almost felt as if each new scene plumbed new depths of social ineptitude.

The main ringleader was big Dean, father or step-father to 7 kids, refusing to work on the grounds that “I’ve worked for 23 years, I think I deserve something back from the social.” Logic obviously isn’t the guy’s strongest point though, with his passionate promises that he’ll even go without beer so that his offspring are looked after (great priorities), sandwiched in between cut scenes of him swearing and setting an untold number of terrible examples to the lost causes that are his children.

Dean’s skint lifestyle had him repairing broken windows as a sideline, buying knock-off meat from the backs of cars, and quite incredibly, culminated in him bearing his ball bag for all to see after his vasectomy surgery was complete. Did the country need this? Were we really so desperate for an eye full of chav scrotum? I doubt it.

We also saw one of Dean’s step-daughters grounded for her role in some shoplifting with her friends. This was something she clearly regretted, and there was a poignant moment where she became quite emotional about not seeing her real father.

And yet this engaging moment soon faded into oblivion with the continued antics of the other local idiots, chief of whom was the buck toothed bell end Connor. This guy’s days seemed to revolve around not going to school, stealing mopeds, calling his mum a slag (amongst other things), and generally acting like a complete and utter tool.

Other cameos included various thieves, criminals and prostitutes.

And yet we came to the end of the documentary which had set out to explore the reasons for poverty and how the people of this town cope with them, with only this knowledge: Everybody in Scunthorpe is poor, steals for a living, and lives in squalor.

Clearly not true. Show me a town where these type of people don’t exist in some area, and I’ll show you a liar.

Skint was not at all representative of the majority of the Scunthorpe folk who work hard for a living and do their bit for the local economy. But then I guess that wouldn’t make for entertaining TV would it?

Can’t wait to see what high jinks and japes Dean and co will provide in next week’s episode.

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About cmacd1989

Journalism student at the University of Lincoln. Come from Scunthorpe. Interests: Football, music, socialising.
This entry was posted in Opinion, TV and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to ‘Skint’ provides entertainment… but no answers

  1. he worked for 23 years but i bet he will love you for adding an extra 3 makes him even more “worthy” lol . I just wish they would do a show the reflects the other side of skint

  2. Anthony Hill says:

    Good read – thanks for writing. Here’s my take on Skint (I’m also a Scunthorpe lad) if you’re interested 🙂
    http://mynameisanthony.wordpress.com/2013/05/22/skint-can-a-channel-4-documentary-put-scunthorpe-on-the-map/

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